The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team had a very exciting and full dragon boat weekend.
Our weekend activities included:
1) Being featured on CBC Newsworld live national television,
Good reports from the interview… Toronto CBC Newsworld Produce
Hilary Walker called it “Awesome!” I talked with reporter Andrew via
earphone and microphone. None of the dragon boat team standing behind
me could hear the questions I was being asked, so I was re-stating the
questions, as I answered them. We were able to demonstrate enthusiasm
for dragon boating, excitement for multiculturalism, show off our
decorated paddles and our kilts. We were also able to introduce
both Bear Kilts sponsor rep Peggy Watkins (Bear's wife), and our
Roxy Nightclub sponsor rep Tanya Romanuk – both are paddlers on our
2) Racing for medals in the D division final,
Our team is a combination of brand new rookies and seasoned
veterans who make having fun a priority. I was hoping that we would be
good enough to move up to Rec C, but we were solidly in Rec D as we
again competed in the Rec D finals. But once again… not strong
enough to win a medal. Saturday seeding races are tough, as there is no
chance of beating Comp or Rec A/B teams… This is certainly
disheartening to Rec D/E teams. But on Sunday, our semi-final race as
very exciting, as we were one of 3 teams surging together towards the
finish line. We were 3rd by 18/100ths of a second – giving us the
fastest 3rd place team finish for the wild card spot in the Red D
Final. Our new chant was “We LOVE Gemini Boats on Sundays”, following
our disappointing first race on Saturday in a Gemini. We posted one of
our best times at 2:34, and finished 7th out of 9 teams in the Rec D medal final.
3) Winning the Hon. David C. Lam Award for being “the team that best represents the multicultural spirit of the festival”
This Award is amazing. The Dragon Boat Festival was founded to help
promote multiculturalism through hosting dragon boat racing. It is a
great honour for the team and our efforts in promoting
multiculturalism. I have previously won this award with my Celebration
Team in 2000. In 2002, I revamped the team and renamed it Gung Haggis
Fat Choy, to have a stronger tie-in to the Robbie Burns Dinner that is
the team's major fundraising event. The focus for the team also became
multiculturalism, as we continue to attend a tour/lesson in the Dr. Sun
Yat Sen Garden/Park, have multicultural dinners, and for the first time
– wear actual kilts on dragon boat weekend, instead of tartan wraps. I
have never before in one day been asked so many times, what is worn
beneath the kilt – nor had so many women trying to peek under the kilt
– in the beer garden – no less.
4) hosting “the Sunday night party to be at”?
We are very grateful to The Roxy for hosting a Apres-Paddling
Party. We gave out 300 FREE tickets on the dragon boat site to teams we
knew and liked. Each ticket gave Free Admission + one Free drink. It
was great to have the Gung Haggis team paddlers relax, dance and
socialize – especially our rookie paddlers as we induct them into the
dragon boat season culture. It was great to see old friends from Wasabi
and Kai 'iKai'Ka join us, as well as new friends from San Francisco
We hit the dance floor to the Eagles “Life in the Fast Lane”
with Wasabi and Gung Haggis paddlers. Later my friend Suzi from Wasabi
Team Huge, grabbed my hand and said “Toddish, they're playing our song”
as the houseband Midnight Ramblers launced into a cover of Johnny Cash's “Ring of Fire”.
Photographer Friend Ray Shum, who was paddling with CBC Wave Catchers,
showed up and took some pictures, which I will post here later….
This was a lot of fun for me – personally! It makes me so glad to be able to just focus on one team, and not be coaching 3 teams. We had a wonderful group of
people who were all on board for the same goal – enjoy the experience.
Organizing a dragon boat is always a lot of work. But the real
reward comes in knowing people's appreciation, and seeing the
development of people in
both their paddling ability and as human beings. I have a lot of help
with this team. Coaching and team development from Bob, organization
and support from
Deb, managerial from Peggy, sponsorshop from Tanya, team leadership and
support from Kristine, technical paddling from Craig, Race day warm-ups
and most of all ENTHUSIASM from Gail, Pam, Natalie, Ashley, Grace,
Randa, Aislynn, Alf, Carl, Ernest, Daming, Dan, Joe, Marlene, Manfred,
Ian and Doug!
It is truly a compliment to the team, that Manfred, Ian and Karmen
– all coaches and team leaders in their own right and boats – give high
praises to both the
Gung Haggis Fat Choy team and its leaders, and they still say they had
such a great time. We look forward to joining them at Harrison Lake on
July 16th, for
their inaugural Fraser Valley Dragon Boat Festival.
Party was good last night… Paddlers from Wasabi, Shibumi, Kai
Ikaika – all from Portland, Dragon Warriors from San Francisco,
PH&N Horny Goats, Drunkin' Dragons, Nestors, all from Vancouver….
This wednesday… the general feeling is we need a rest from dragon
boating…. maybe in the absence of paddling…. I will suggest
relaxing in a whirlpool jacuzzi…
waterslides / wave pool anybody?
Next race is July 9/10 SeaVancouver Festival followed by July 16
Fraser Valley DBF @ Harrison Lake Sept 4/5 Vancouver International
Taiwanese DB Race
Optional races will be:
July 23/24 – on Kalamalka Lake
August 27/28 – Treasure Island in the middle of San
Francisco Bay… 10th Anniversary races…